“Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?”
The Chaos is a poem about irregularities in English spelling and pronunciation. It was written by Dutch writer and teacher Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946), and appeared in various forms in a series of editions of his book Drop Your Foreign Accent. The full-length poem, together with background information, is available here.